I blog when I go abroad, and occasionally when I do stuff in the UK too. There's a nicer interface over here.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Spit Bridge to Manly

Monday 25th January 2010. Kevin had the day off work. I hadn't suffered any jetlag. Time to go for a walk!

This was my 4th visit to Sydney (or 6th, depending on how you count it -- on two visits I've been on 3 or 4 day side-trips in the middle). But it was only the second time I was staying in a hotel, and the first time I've had to fend for myself. Most importantly, related to what I'm talkin' about 'ere, I had to get some public transport BY MYSELF like a BIG BRAVE BOY. Which wasn't something new, come to think of it; what's new was I was meeting me bro' somewhere I'd never been before, namely the Spit Bridge.

I needed a Diet Coke before the bus, so popped in a newsagent next to where they all start from. While I was in there someone appeared basically from nowhere, in a robe, and asked where the swimming pool is. Turns out there's an entrance directly into the shop from the hotel in the building next door. Freaked me out though.

Monday rush hour traffic in Sydney by the bus terminus is mental. Very unpleasant. But my bus was on time and got me to the Spit nice and quickly. There was nothing remotely difficult about getting off at the right place, and in fact I surprised Kevin by getting there so early. He was playing with AJ, but once I got there he got her sorted, shoved her in the backpack, and off we went.

The Spit Bridge to Manly walkway is ace. My type of walk: a boardwalk, mostly signed, a feeling of being miles away from the city despite being in the centre of it, water, trees, wildlife, a half-decent climb, and it ends at a Bavarian pub next to a ferry port.

Not much to say about it that other sites can't say better. But I can show you a picture of an Eastern Water Dragon, one of the many that we spotted en route.

Eastern Water Dragon
AJ was well behaved pretty much the whole way, as I recall. The climb around the head was a bit more than I expected, but that was a good thing. Part of the walk goes past a beach and park which Kevin and Sally had taken Ruth and I to, back in 2008, which was my first Golden Gaytime experience. Yum. But this time I just stuck with water.

The weather was pretty grey, which was actually perfect. It meant I didn't get any decent photos (wildlife notwithstanding), but it also meant I didn't get sunburnt or die of dehydration etc. By the time we finally reached Manly, me bro was more fucked than I was, blaming the fact that he'd carried a backpack with his daughter in it the whole way. I pointed out this only just about made him weigh the same as me, but he legitimately countered with the fact that he's not used to weighing that much. Bah.

I love the Bavarian Bier Cafe at Manly. I think I've been there on every trip to Sydney (when you count them as 4). This is at least in part due to the fact that the Manly Ferry is yet to get boring, what with it being a superb picturesque 30 minute boat ride in Sydney harbour with ace views of, um, everything, and it just being public transport. Nothing special about it. Manly itself is actually not part of Sydney, or something...I could look it up right now but can't be arsed, but my understanding is it's not a suburb like, say, Wimbledon, but actually a separate place like, um, I dunno. Woking? Except it's better than Woking, because it has a ferry and a huge beach on the Pacific Ocean and a Bavarian pub and no fucking pikey-ass Wetherspoons.

The first time I went there because "you've never been here before, the Manly Ferry is a box to tick and there's a Bavarian pub there". The second time was exactly the same reason, but aimed at Ruth instead of me (that was the best visit; there are photos of our crazy drinks and my bro attempting some kind of schnitzel challenge somewhere). The third time was because I wanted somewhere nice to have an angry drink by myself because I was hurting lots -- though the bar staff took my Oktoberfest 2002 t-shirt to mean that I was German and felt homesick. No, not German...

This visit was because we needed some calories after the walk. Of course there are abundant choices in Manly of places to sit and eat/drink, but I wanted to go here because it's a Bavarian pub for fucks sake. AJ was ... less well-behaved than she might have been, but not awful. Most thing stayed on the table most of the time. I showed off my fearsome beer knowledge by recommending we drink Stiegl (it is a great lager), and then we got the ferry back.

I don't recall what the rest of the day consisted of. I suspect I just sat in my hotel room dicking around on the internet, and then watched a load of tennis. Those things happened quite a lot o this holiday.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Birthdays in Sydney

Kevin's birthday was better than mine, even if it, too, didn't go according to plan. See after a couple of beers on his last night as a 39 year old, we were headed for one more when he got a call from Sal (who was already ill herself). AJ had a cough and she was worried. Kevin hot-footed it back, and the party for the following day was called off. The following day being my bro's actual birthday, though the party was really all about the nipper having turned 1 a few days previous.

So, in the absence of a party in the park, there was a gathering in their house. Which turned out to be much the preferable option anyway, as it was 39 degrees celsius outside but air-conditioned inside. Alex had been to the docs in the morning and the cough was diagnosed as, er, just a cough. Pfft! I got to Willoughby about 1130 and immediately started making headway into the huge amount of breaded goods in the kitchen. Sal's folks were there, plus her sisters Mara and Jo; but they all left to go elsewhere at about 1pm. A couple of Kevin's mates came over later in the afternoon and out came the beer. We played with the dogs briefly while fetching more beer from the cellar; toys were assembled or inflated; friends went, family returned; Thai food was ordered (and some of it was HOT); Eddie Izzard DVD was watched; I got a lift back to my hotel.

Sunday went like this: walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, met Kevin who was exercising Rowlf in a park underneath the north end in Kirribilli, walked harbourside past Luna Park and a couple of beaches, wandered through a park and up some steps, found somewhere to eat breakfast, struggled to keep Rowlf under control while we munched. Then we walked back to their house. Littl'un was still coughing, Sal was a bit better. Rest of the day was spent chilling, I got me a bus back to town in the early evening (having forgotten it was Sunday and not looked up the timetable, upshot being I had to wait a fair while).

Monday was much more interesting. So I'll write about it some other time, as right now I need to get my shit together and go get on a plane to London. OZ521 ICN-LHR seat 6k if you're interested.